New Faces at SAWC!


We’ve had some new faces join the crew at SAWC in the last few months, and would like to give a warm welcome to the staff who are working with the Coalition to advance the informed management of our region’s watersheds!

Meet the newest members of the SAWC team:


Rebecca Bellmore, Science Director

 Rebecca bio photo 

Rebecca recently moved to Juneau after almost a decade in the Pacific Northwest. She’s enjoying exploring the many hiking trails, berry picking, and fishing. She’s excited to get to know Southeast Alaska’s communities and work with them to protect and improve watershed health and sustainability. Rebecca has a graduate degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences from Washington State University. She has studied stream watershed nutrient cycling in the context of mitigation strategies for the loss of salmon, land use effects, and climate change.

Rebecca develops and runs SAWC’s Watershed Science Program, working to ensure watershed science is accessible to communities and supporting science-based initiatives that address community needs

You can reach Rebecca at

Lia Heifetz, Community Food Sustainability Catalyst, Sustainable Southeast Partnership


Lia Heifetz is the Food Sustainability Regional Catalyst for the Sustainable Southeast Partnership. She was born and raised in Juneau, left to further her education, and soon returned to call Southeast Alaska home. She enjoys spending time outdoors – hiking, biking, running, and kayaking – and all things food. If there’s growing, harvesting, catching, canning, drying, freezing, or sizzling in a cast iron skillet happening, she’s happy.

Lia runs a small consulting business, Grow Southeast, that works with regional and community based organizations throughout Southeast Alaska to increase food security. Grow Southeast works with a collective impact initiative, the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, striving to nurture resilient Southeast Alaskan communities. Within the Partnership, Lia works to strengthen and localize food systems in an effort to support long-term self-reliant communities, vibrant place-based culture, healthy functioning ecosystems, and robust local economies.

Lia works closely with many rural communities and tribes in Southeast Alaska. Lia engages community members, entrepreneurs, and organizations to identify opportunities and overcome challenges related with building sustainable food systems and businesses as a mechanism to increase economic activity in the region. Lia is also a governing board member of the Alaska Food Policy Council where she strives to connect efforts in Southeast to statewide initiatives and projects, and bring statewide resources, perspectives, and lessons learned to Southeast communities.

SAWC participates in the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, hosting Lia’s work to advance regional food security and sustainability. 

You can contact Lia at 

Nicole Kovacs, Program Manager, Taiya Inlet Watershed Council – Skagway

NK - SAWC photo1 
Nicole is from Massachusetts and first came to Southeast Alaska in 2013 working as a climbing guide in Skagway and Haines. She is now the Program Manager for the Taiya Inlet Watershed Council and Environmental Coordinator for the Skagway Traditional Council. Her projects include, Salmon in the Classroom, invasive plant management and education, and clean boating outreach. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Over the past few years she has worked various field jobs from studying ground squirrels in Idaho to endangered tiger beetles along the Connecticut River and as a natural resource volunteer for the National Park Service in Skagway. When she’s not working she enjoys climbing, trail running, skiing and playing in the mountains.

You can reach Nicole at